Facebook s External REST Interface in Java

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Facebook s External REST Interface
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Facebook exposes an interface to application developers based on Representational State Transfer (REST) REST is an architectural style that uses Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP)This section discusses how REST works and then describes how Facebook expects developers to use it
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Using REST on the Web
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The majority of the web uses HTTP and, therefore, REST implementations can take advantage of the many features that the web offers, such as interoperability, scalability, security, and standard URLs REST deals with everything as resources, addressed using standard URIs The basic tenets of REST are as follows: URIs are resources (Example: http://servercom/person/john/) REST is stateless on the server:The state is contained on the client and is passed to the server as part of the URI For example, a user might get a list of restaurants in Massachusetts by going to http://servercom/restaurants/ma/ She might then click one of the resulting restaurant names (Mangia, for example) to get more information, resulting in the URL http://servercom/restaurants/ma/mangia/This process continues as the user narrows her search, and it might eventually include additional information as query parameters, such as http://servercom/restaurants/ma/mangia/ search=pizza, to find what types of pizza Mangia serves
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HTTP verbs are the methods (Example: GET, POST, PUT, and DELETE) In general, GET should be a read-only, repeatable operation to return resource informationThis allows servers to easily cache and scale POST, PUT, and DELETE change the resource Content-type describes how the data is exchanged (Example: Contenttype=application/xml sent in the HTTP header) Responses from the server should be XHTML, XML, or JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) Clients of the service should know which to expect and handle it accordingly
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3 Platform Architecture Overview
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Status codes are the result (Example: 200 is OK; 400 is a bad request) Having a defined set of returned status codes is importantTable 31 lists the standard ones, which are recognized as part of HTTP/11
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Common Status Codes Meaning
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Success OK Created Redirection Moved permanently to another address Moved temporarily to another address Not modified, use the local cache Client Error Bad request, the syntax was bad Unauthorized, authentication must be used Forbidden, the user doesn t have rights Not Found, the URL doesn t exist Method not allowed, the wrong verb was used Server Errors Internal Server Error, something bad on the server
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Table 31 Code
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2xx 200 201 3xx 301 302 304 4xx 400 401 403 404 405 5xx 500
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Facebook provides a REST-like implementation for its API It s not pure REST, because individual resources (methods, objects) are not given unique URIs For example, to get a list of friends of the current user using a REST API, you might expect to use a GET request to retrieve it from a collection URI (perhaps http://apifacebookcom/users/)Then, the client code could use one of these user identifiers returned from this query to access specific data of a single user, again using a dedicated URI (for example, http://apifacebookcom/ users/uid100) Instead, Facebook implements the interface for its API by using a single endpoint, to which you must supply all the data needed for the request in POST (default) or GET parameters It s effectively a remote procedure call (RPC) over HTTP-style interface Each
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Overview of the Facebook API
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API call has its own set of parameters, and Facebook requires that the application also pass identifying information and a security hash to ensure that the calls are legitimate For example, to manually call the Facebook API function friendsgetAppUsers(), which returns a list of friends of the current user who are also users of your application, you can use a URL like this one:
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http://apifacebookcom/restserverphp method=facebookfriendsgetAppUsers&session_ key=XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX&api_key=XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX&call_id=1234557716362&v=10 &sig=XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
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Fortunately, Facebook and the developer community provide wrappers for many languages that make calling the Facebook API as simple as a function call, allowing you to use this instead:
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$facebook = new Facebook($app_apikey, $app_secretkey); $result = $facebook->api_client->friends_getAppUsers();
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Later, this chapter describes the available client libraries that wrap the API However, because Facebook uses a standard REST interface, almost any language with web capabilities can use the API
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